How PRYDE instilled pride in my life's purpose

 Delaney Ding, PRYDE Scholar

Delaney Ding, PRYDE Scholar

In one of our weekly PRYDE classes, our cohort was assigned a reading that outlined ways to evaluate a program’s impact. Immediately afterward, a corresponding discussion topic asked us to make a similar evaluation for the PRYDE Scholars program we were a part of. It brought my experiences in working with youth and aspirations to practice pediatrics to mind, but most importantly, it helped me reflect on how PRYDE instilled pride in my work and life’s purpose to apply knowledge for a cause through translational research. 

As a PRYDE Scholar, I was given the unique opportunity to connect with practitioners and speak about my research to a variety of audiences, all of whom have a stake in the work or an interest in youth development and engagement. Before I became a PRYDE Scholar, I was oblivious to how relatable research could be. I thought research was something that was inaccessible to those without a Ph.D. or only prized among the community of academics. But PRYDE taught me how research could be translated and made understandable and accessible to the public.

Additionally, being a PRYDE Scholar has taught me skills that have benefited me in other arenas. I've developed my interpersonal skills through collaboration, developed confidence in taking personal ownership of projects, practiced communicating academic information, and learned to think more critically about information I come across, not only in academic settings, but also in everyday life. The fellow scholars I've met and worked with, the meaningful experiences I’ve had in the Youth Risk and Opportunity lab, and the opportunities to connect with practitioners have allowed me to not only relate academic concepts to real-world problems, but also make direct connections between my research, personal life, and involvement on campus. For example, my involvement in sexual violence prevention research has translated into my work as a resident advisor for first-year Cornell students, inspired me to push for changes in the way consent education is taught through residential and new student programming, and paved the way for me to take on a role as CORE RA for my residential community for the 2018-19 academic year.

I've also realized that translational research is something I want to continue pursuing in my career because it seeks, teaches, and applies knowledge in an investigative, impactful way. I've always been a strong believer that the how is more important than the what. There are many ways to acquire and apply knowledge, but few are as engaging as being a researcher. Research teaches skills that cannot be taught in books. It requires careful planning, organization, collaboration, deep reflection, and vision in order to make an impact. It is an engaging, meaningful experience that develops true scholarship, and being a part of PRYDE has made me more enthusiastic about pursuing that in my life and encouraging others to do the same.